College Basketball: Predicting the Big 12 Postseason Awards

Chris ConnContributor IIIAugust 17, 2011

College Basketball: Predicting the Big 12 Postseason Awards

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    Don't look now, but college basketball is returning from its summer lull.

    Though the Big 12 loses Colorado, Nebraska and four NBA lottery picks, it returns plenty of elite talent and welcomes in the newest crop of soon-to-be studs.

    It may be early, but let's take a look at what the Big 12 postseason awards should look like.

All-Big 12 First Team

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    Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas PG

    The Jayhawks' senior leader, Taylor is an improved passer and shooter and should be the best point guard in the Big 12 next year.


    Marcus Denmon, Missouri G

    The Big 12's top returning scorer, Denmon has improved each year for the Tigers and looks primed to have a monster senior season in Columbia.


    LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State SF

    Nash is a physically gifted freshman who has all of the assets to be an NBA lottery pick in the near future.


    Thomas Robinson, Kansas PF

    Robinson is Bill Self's next big man to make national noise. If it weren't for the Morris twins, he'd probably already be in the NBA.


    Perry Jones III, Baylor C

    PJ3 will serve a five-game suspension to start the season, but look for Baylor's super soph to anchor a highly touted Bears squad.

All-Big 12 Second Team

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    Myck Kabongo, Texas G

    Kabongo is a multi-talented freshman point guard who will help keep the Longhorns competitive in the Big 12.


    Rodney McGruder, Kansas State G

    With the departure of Jacob Pullen, McGruder will be Frank Martin's go-to guy in Manhattan.


    Quincy Acy, Baylor F

    Last year's Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, Acy looks ready put up big numbers in his senior season. 


    Khris Middleton, Texas A&M F

    Middleton was quietly one of the Big 12's best scorers last season, and he's only going to improve in 2011-2012.


    Quincy Miller, Baylor F

    Scott Drew's newest diaper dandy, Miller is a 6'9" do-it-all type player who creates matchup problems every time he steps on the court. 

All-Big 12 Third Team

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    Keiton Page, Oklahoma State G

    One of the best pure shooters in the conference, the 5'9" Page gives Oklahoma State the potential to compete with anyone.


    Scott Christopherson, Iowa State G

    Christopherson is a pretty good passer who can also knock down shots. With Diante Garrett's departure, he figures to receive some of the scoring load. 


    Andrew Fitzgerald, Oklahoma F

    Oklahoma's best player, Fitzgerald will be the primary scoring option for the lowly Sooners.


    Laurence Bowers, Missouri F

    A defensive monster, Bowers has improved his offensive game every season in Columbia. His senior campaign should be no different.


    David Loubeau, Texas A&M F

    Loubeau is a 6'8" forward who, alongside Khris Middleton, gives Texas A&M a pretty good 1-2 punch.

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention

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    A.J. Walton, Baylor PG

    Baylor's junior point guard is a great passer, tough defender and improved scorer. 


    Chris Allen, Iowa State G

    A former Michigan State Spartan, Chris Allen will help lead a revived Cyclones team.  


    Melvin Ejim, Iowa State F

    A great rebounder for his size, Ejim will only improve in his second season at Iowa State.


    Ben McLemore, Kansas G

    A highly recruited shooter, McLemore should benefit from the Jayhawks' inside-outside game.


    Jamar Samuels, Kansas State F

    Samuels is one of Frank Martin's big men who will help overcome the loss of Curtis Kelly down low. 


    Kim English, Missouri G

    English is a consistent scoring guard who can get to the rim and shoot well from outside.


    Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri F

    One of five Tigers who averaged 10 points per game last season, Ratliffe is a solid rebounder and post player.


    J.P. Olukemi, Oklahoma State F

    Olukemi is a hard-nosed slasher who gets to the gets to the line at a high rate.


    J’Covan Brown, Texas F

    The only returning Longhorn who averaged more than 10 minutes per game last season, Brown will get more opportunities as his responsibilities in the offense increase.

Big 12 All-Defensive Team

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    A.J. Walton, Baylor G

    Baylor's quick-handed point guard led the Big 12 in steals last season and is in an excellent position to do it again.


    Michael Dixon, Missouri G

    Like Walton, Michael Dixon is a quick perimeter player who gets in passing lanes and creates turnovers.


    Quincy Acy, Baylor F

    Acy is an excellent defender who blocks shots and disrupts offenses. 


    Laurence Bowers, Missouri F

    Bowers finished second to Tristan Thompson in the Big 12 in blocks, and there's no reason to think he won't remain a force inside for the Tigers.


    Jordan Henriquez-Roberts, Kansas State C 

    Frank Martin's seven-footer averaged under 14 minutes per game last season and was still in the Big 12's top five in blocks. With increased minutes, Henriquez-Roberts is only going to continue to clog the lane. 

Big 12 All-Rookie Team

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    Myck Kabongo, Texas PG

    Many have compared the celebrated Texas point guard to former Longhorn T.J. Ford.


    Chris Allen, Iowa State G

    A streaky shooter at Michigan State, Allen brings Final Four experience to Ames.


    LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State SF

    Nash possesses a combination of speed, strength and athleticism that many teams will struggle to defend.


    Royce White, Iowa State F

    A former Minnesota top 20 recruit with off-the-court issues, White has the tools to redeem himself as a Cyclone. 


    Quincy Miller, Baylor F (pictured)

    An extremely versatile player with a high basketball I.Q., Miller will feature prominently in the Baylor offense.

Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year

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    Anthony Jones, Baylor F

    Though it may take a few games, I suspect Jones will lose his starting spot to newcomer Quincy Miller. 

    But that doesn't mean he won't be a factor.

    A 6'10" power forward, Jones is a solid rebounder and an above-average outside shooter for his size.

    If Scott Drew decides to "go big" and play a taller lineup, don't be surprised to see Jones get extended minutes and take home some hardware at the end of the season. 

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year

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    Chris Allen, Iowa State, G

    Michigan State's sharpshooter from two years ago, Chris Allen helped the Spartans make their second consecutive Final Four in 2009-10.

    Though he may not have originally planned a transfer to Iowa State, Allen should flourish on an Iowa State team that features eight transfer students.

    Look for the former three-point threat to continue his winning ways in Ames. 

Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year

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    Laurence Bowers, Missouri F

    Bowers is an absolutely tenacious defender. 

    A member of the 2011 Big 12 All-Defensive Team, Bowers is in a prime position to improve his status as one of the conference's elite defenders.

    He blocked eight shots in a game against Colorado last season, and this year, his abilities will only grow.

    Look for Bowers to not only anchor Frank Haith's defense but to also lead the Big 12 in blocks. 

Big 12 Rookie of the Year

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    LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State SF

    His physical prowess may not match that of the similarly named LeBron James, but LeBryan Nash could very well be the best athlete in the entire 2011 freshman class.

    At 6'7" and with great quickness, Nash is a matchup nightmare for most Big 12 defenders.

    While one could argue that Baylor's Quincy Miller is the freshman with the most raw talent, Nash has less of a supporting cast and will likely be more involved in the offense.

    Look for these two to battle it out for Big 12 Rookie of the Year, with Nash ultimately coming out on top.

Big 12 Coach of the Year

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    Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State

    Second-year head coach Fred Hoiberg is in a perfect position to resurrect Iowa State Basketball.

    The Cyclones finished a Big 12 worst 3-13 last year, but Hoiberg has all the talent to make a dramatic turnaround.

    He will certainly need to manage egos, but with returning starters Scott Christopherson and Melvin Ejim and transfers Chris Allen and Royce White, Hoiberg has enough talent to bring Iowa State its first conference winning record since 2005.  

Big 12 Player of the Year

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    Thomas Robinson, Kansas F

    Thomas Robinson averaged less than 15 minutes per game last year, but you can't blame him too much, as two NBA lottery picks stood in his way.

    A phenomenal athlete and a monster on the glass, Robinson was an instant spark for the Jayhawks off the bench.

    His per minute averages shatter the competition, and though he won't be able to maintain those numbers in increased production, Robinson sure seems ready to breakout.

    He has already turned heads at several camps this summer, and we all know how much Bill Self likes to dump the ball down low.

    Don't be surprised to see Robinson explode on the scene next year and establish himself as one of the country's elite big men.